Sonia Nazario Interview, plus links to author biography, book summaries, excerpts and reviews

Sonia Nazario

Sonia Nazario

An interview with Sonia Nazario

An interview with Sonia Nazario, first published in Publishers Weekly, reproduced with permission of the author.

What inspired you to take on the story of Enrique's Journey?

A woman, Carmen, who would come and clean my house twice a month. She told me that she had four children that she had left behind in Guatemala and had not seen for 12 years. About a year later, her son made the journey to the United States and described to me El Tren de La Muerte, the Train of Death. I found it unbelievably moving: the story of children wanting, at all costs, to be with their mothers and going through these dangerous and terrifying worlds to reach them.


It sounds like your own research was pretty dangerous, too.

I wanted to put readers on top of the train with Enrique and to make them feel that they were alongside him. To do that, I had to retrace his journey myself. I did it the way he did it. Where he rode buses through Central America, I rode buses. And where he boarded the train in southern Mexico, I did, too. But there were times when I was afraid. There were too many close calls. There were times when I was filthy or I couldn't go to the bathroom for hours or was excruciatingly hot or cold or pelted by hail.


What was the most dangerous thing that happened to you?

A branch hit me square in the face while I was on top of the train and I almost fell off. That was pretty harrowing.


It seems like many of the mothers are not prepared for how their departure will affect their children.

A lot of these mothers believe in their hearts that they are doing the best thing by leaving their child. [Because the mothers send money back home] their child will not grow up in such grinding poverty. But the reality is that in most cases the separation lasts much longer than the women believe [it will], and the children ultimately resent their mothers for leaving them. So in the end, for many families, it's a sad story.


It seems like a difficult pattern to break, though, because the poverty is so devastating.

Some of the families live with a tarp over their heads and a dirt floor underneath them. Women describe not having anything to give their children for dinner and giving them a glass of water with a teaspoon of sugar to quiet their bellies. The level of poverty is staggering.


How has writing this book changed your opinions about illegal immigration?

The main change for me has been to recognize that such a powerful stream will only change if it is addressed at its source, if the economies of these countries that are sending large numbers of people to the United States improves. I talked to one kid in southern Mexico who had made 27 attempts to reach his mother in the United States, and he was getting ready to make attempt number 28. You come to believe that no number of border control guards is going to stop someone like that.

More information at EnriquesJourney.com.

Unless otherwise stated, this interview was conducted at the time the book was first published, and is reproduced with permission of the publisher. This interview may not be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the copyright holder.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Stalin's Daughter
    by Rosemary Sullivan
    "There is something fatal about my life. You can't regret your fate, though I do regret my ...
  • Book Jacket: A Certain Age
    A Certain Age
    by Beatriz Williams
    Lovers of high-society gossip, there's a new set of players in town. A good 20 out of 23 of our...
  • Book Jacket: The Romanovs
    The Romanovs
    by Simon Sebag Montefiore
    The Romanovs chronicles the reigns of the 20 individuals who were considered members of that dynasty...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Miss Jane
    by Brad Watson

    "Starred Review. Sensitive, beautifully precise prose. Highly recommended." - PW

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Falling
    by Jane Green

    "Readers who enjoy a love story with heart will adore this tale of homecoming and transformation." - LJ

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Sweet Caress
by William Boyd

William Boyd's Sweet Caress captures an entire lifetime unforgettably within its pages. It captivates.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Summer Stunner
Summer Giveaway

Win 5 books, each week in July!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

W M T N, W C F All

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

BookBrowse Summer Giveaway

We're giving away
5 books every
week in July!